Recently there was some discussion over on the Amber mailing list about adding a Social stat to the Amber Diceless RPG, in order to better reflect the abilities of people like Florimel. As discussions on AML so often do, this one descended into a flame war, with some people deciding that having social abilities was somehow akin to mind control, or that it replaced roleplaying.

Over on his Livejournal, Matt proposed what I think is a way to make such a stat workable:

What would I do with a “social” stat? I’d use it as a superior version of “Allies”, for one; the higher the social stat rank, the more likely the character is to have an ally in the right place at the right time. Additionally, it affects reputation. If Flora uses her Socialise stat to attack Benedict, her player has to describe what she’s doing (start a rumour that he was the one who swiped Random’s favourite drums), and how (have it whispered in court, and in taverns). If Benedict has a high enough social stat, he can find out about the attack in time to do something about it (his spy network might be sensitive to this kind of thing; he might send soldiers to intimidate the people telling these rumours or seed dozens of conflicting rumours to defuse the whole thing). If Flora outranks Benedict, his defence fails. If she outranks him by a lot, he doesn’t even realise its going on until it has become “common knowledge”.

While it may need to be refined a bit, I think this basic idea is a great way to go about adding such a stat. It doesn’t trump roleplay, it’s not much use for directly controlling another PC, and it has the potential to let characters shine in a new area. If I ever actually run another game using the ADPRG rules, I’ll be giving serious consideration to adding it in.